Deputy speaker calls on Kadhimi to form committee to follow up water issue with neighboring countries

Iraqi men move a boat that was stuck on the banks of the Euphrates River in Twairij, roughly 20 kilometers east of Karbala, on April 8, 2014. (AFP photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — First deputy speaker of Iraqi parliament Hakim al-Zamli on Monday called on the prime minister to form a high-level committee to follow up the issue of water with neighboring countries.

Zamli hosted minister of water resources Mahdi Rashid al-Hamdani at his office in Baghdad on Monday to discuss the issue of water in the country, the official news agency INA reported.

The deputy speaker called on Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to form a high-level committee to “follow up and effectively mange the water file at the highest levels … and put pressure on neighboring countries to increase Iraq’s water quotas”, INA quoted him as saying.

He also warned that “any neglect or delay in managing this file will result in dire consequences that threaten the lives of the Iraqi people, and harm common interests, especially economic ones, with neighboring countries.”

Iraq has been in talks with the neighboring countries to secure its share of water.

In May 2021, spokesman of the Iraqi water resources ministry Ali Radi said levels of water in the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers had dropped by 50% compared to the previous year.

Iraq’s main sources of water are the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, providing 98% of the country’s surface water.

Both rivers originate in Turkey, while the Euphrates passes through Syria, and some tributaries flow through Iran.

Turkey is holding back water on the Tigris River to fill a reservoir behind its Ilisu dam, a step that has alarmed Iraq and caused shortages particularly in the southern province of Basra.

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